Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Best of the Rest...

Ahhh...Sunday evening. The fun and chaos of the weekend is coming to an end, and the hard work and chaos of the upcoming week is only a few hours away. I spent the weekend taking the kids to the zoo, hanging out with friends and making bath fizzies (more on that next time). Before I hit the sack, I wanted to finish up my mini-series highlighting a few of my favorite natural household ingredients.  In case you missed it, my last post was all about baking soda, and the first post was about vinegar.  I know... pretty exciting stuff, huh?  They may not be the most glamorous of topics, but I guarantee that a little time and research can save you money, waste and exposure to harmful chemicals.

There are few other products and ingredients around the house that I use frequently, both individually and combined to make natural cleaning recipes.  Here are a few:

Washing Soda

Washing soda, or sodium carbonate is very similar in chemican makeup to baking soda. Its chemical compound is Na2CO3. I have read that you can change baking soda into washing soda by baking it in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or so, which removes the carbon dioxide and water. Washing soda is used as a laundry booster and water softener. It is highly alkaline (even more so than baking soda), so it is excellent at removing acidic stains. I use washing soda as part of my homemade laundry detergent.  Washing soda can also be used to remove mineral deposits from things like coffee pots and tile grout.


Sodium tetraborate is a natural mineral mined from deep within the earth. It is highly alkaline, with a pH of 9.5. This makes it an ideal laundry booster. Borax is used in many products including laundry detergent, soap and other body care products like lotions and moisturizers. This may seem strange, but it makes sense considering its softening effects. Borax is also antifungal. While large amounts of Borax can be toxic (it is used as a natural insecticide), it is very safe in small amounts.  Who hasn't used Borax and Elmer's Glue to make "Gak??"

The Rest

Some of my other favorites include lemons (antibacterial, antifungal and moisturizing-make a paste of lemon juice and baking soda to cut through grease and grime), herbal tea (brewed herbal tea makes an excellent additive to any wood cleaner because it leaves a nice shine without buildup), castile soap (an all-natural oil-based soap that I use in all of my handmade cleaners) and hot water (sometimes all you need is a little hot water!).

So, there ya have it. My virtual cleaning arsenal. The beauty of using natural ingredients like this is that you don't have to worry about chemical exposure (especially in kids), you can save money, and you can waste less (no need to buy all those cleaners packaged in plastic).

Got any recipes or natural cleaning tricks you'd like to share? Please post them here and share this with your friends. 

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Happy Cleaning!


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